Skate hit the PS3 and Xbox 360 last August and trampled reigning king Tony Hawk’s 9th iteration. EA recently announced a spin-off skate series entitled Skate It for Wii and DS, which looks to adapt the slick “flick-it” controls that made Skate so versatile and cohesive on PS3 and Xbox 360. The Wii balance board is also in the mix for Skate It, but this might be gimmicky at best. Which begs the question, what does the next Skate need?
As any thrasher knows, Skate left little to be improved upon, at least with regards to shred-tastic action. Off the board is another story, as you literally had one foot planted on your board at all times. Walking is not an option. Initially, this oversight seemed startlingly problematic—huge gaps, staircases, and any other starting points had to be carefully thought out, as one bail or misstep led to frustration. A handy starting marker alleviated some of this trial-and-error gameplay, but a substitution for getting off your board, this is not. Sequels inevitably bring improvements, and Skate 2 will no-doubt be even tighter than its predecessor.
As a hardcore skater for nearly half my life, Skate hit the nail on the head. Tricks are rewarding and the animations and physics are spot-on for grinding, big air, and flip tricks. EA has confirmed that Skate 2 (also for PS3/360) is coming down the pipeline and given Skate It‘s unique functionality, the breadth of skateboarding titles coming out is something to relish. Conversely, Activision also announced that this is the first year a Tony Hawk title will not be released on consoles. The Hawk franchise needs a massive overhaul, and it looks like Activision knows this—I hope the developers at Activision recapture the passion and ingenuity that Tony Hawk 2 possessed. Competition is always good for games, and a drastic rebirth would be great for Hawk and the gang.
Clearly, Skate 2 is going to be special—how special you ask? You tell me. What do you want EA Blackbox to polish, push, or progress? Here is a short list of five features this writer would love to see implemented in Skate 2:
- Walking Strong—C’mon and let us walk up that flight of stairs that we just biffed it down. Don’t do away with the marker placement system, either. Animation would need to be tight though, as we all know how sloppy and disjointed the walking controls are in Tony Hawk.
- Day/Night Cycle—Anyone who’s seen a skate video has seen night skating. Rigging lights and setting up the perfect shot silhouetted against the night—oh, it’s a thing of beauty. Capturing the perfect photo would be that much more rewarding. Benefits to skating at night could include a lack of security and pedestrians.
- Freestyle/Flatground—Skateboard innovator and inventor Rodney Mullen perfected the balletic waltz between man and board. Tony Hawk 2 introduced flatground tricks (as well as Mr. Mullen) to millions of thrilled gamers. Caspers, Rail Stalls, Truck Stalls, it’s all about precision and grace. Skate entirely lacked flatground and given that it’s the birthplace of every flip trick imaginable, Skate needs to represent the old school. Skate‘s insanely precise controls already lend themselves to this grossly underrepresented skate style.
- Even More Tricks—One footed manuals, one wheeled nose manuals, imply 360 shove-its, no comply, boneless. The list could go on. And while I realize that skateboarding is changing constantly, it would be nice to see some of these more unique tricks.
- Park Editor—I don’t want to edit the whole world of Skate, just a simple skatepark. One to call your own, to set up how you want. Maybe a flat bar to box transfer. A kicker ramp over a trashcan fergodsakes! Ideally, you could create and save as many parks as your harddrive allowed.
Perhaps this list has stirred something inside you, maybe enough to give Skate a try, if you haven’t already. In this humble writer’s opinion, Skate is the most “next-gen” game yet. The physics are incredible; the animation blending, superb; and the sound effects, divine. Hopefully someone at EA Blackbox sees Skate 2 as an opportunity for gamers to get into skating and vice versa. Skate 2 is going to be special, even if none of these features are added. The vigilant writers at TVGB will keep you in the know for all Skate 2 and Skate It news.